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Author Topic: The Argonne Protectorates 2014  (Read 3779 times)
Brass Jester
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« on: May 07, 2014, 12:20:34 am »

This is the background to the 2014 Argonne Protectorates Game. It is still a work in progress.

The Argonne Protectorates lie approximately 500 LY coreward from the Core Worlds, beyond the Aquila Rift.

Centuries ago the followers of Divine Ser, the Seranians, split into two mutually opposed sects (a dichotomy).The sects were The Faithful of Blessed Ser and the Devoted of Hallowed Ser.

(GM: I have a fairly good idea who Ser was; but let’s see what develops.)

When the Commonality made recontact in 180 NCE they found sectarian wars flaring in places, with civilians caught in the middle. Given this and the Commonalities dislike of religion in general, they set about bringing a lasting peace to the subsector.

Limited contact was made with the major cultures and the benefits of Commonality membership explained. This was kept very low key to avoid triggering the Venu Mistake again, especially as no-one knew what the mistake had been in the first place.
   On Argonne, a branch of the Temple of the Universal Mind; locally called the Church of the True Faith, was established to act as a base and training camp. A Mindjammer route was established back into Commonality space.

The Argonald Temple, beneath the cover of the Church, acts as a centre of operations for the Communications Instrumentality and SCI Force. The Commonality is acting cautiously in the Protectorates, pursuing a multi-part plan.

1.   Make local converts amongst the population and train them as priests of the True Faith. They are then sent out to spread the word and win converts away from the Seranians.
2.   Where sectarian violence is open, SCI Force will act to contain and neutralise the situation.
3.   If the AFI needs to be involved then this must be done in a way that casts the blame on a third party. To this end, a combined CI/SCI/AFI Force operation is underway to recruit and equip a band of raiders.
4.   As the Church spreads it will take the Mindscape with it. The benefits of using the Mindscape will be demonstrated to influential people in the system
5.   Eventually, when the system is ready, it will declare openly for the True Faith, the declaration will be timed such that several systems declare at the same time. The Domino Effect should sweep away the Seranians and leave the True Faith.
6.   The Protectorates can then formally become part of the Commonality and upgrade to full membership.

Other organisations operating in the Protectorates
Nexus: A general trading Corporation known for its aggressive methods.

Bolgan Corporation: A pharmaceutical extraction and processing concern with extensive holdings on Khefir.

How do the Seranians view the Church of the True Faith?

The Faithful
   The Faithful cling to the doctrines of the Book of Commands as laid down by Blessed Ser. The Book lays out the whole routine of daily life of one of the Faithful; only by following these to the letter will survival be ensured, as it was during the Journey in The Great Darkness. No deviation is permitted unless sanctioned by the head of the Church, The Most Faithful First One; only three such deviations have been made in recorded history.
   The Faithful will have nothing to do with the false prophets of the False Faith and will denounce them openly. This can be dangerous on many worlds, especially the more primitive cultures where sorcery is feared.
   In regards to open trade with the Commonality; such trade is permitted if the Book of Commands allows it.

The Devoted
   The Devoted recognise that only through change and compromise did Blessed Ser lead his people through the Great Darkness. They too hold the Book of Commands as being the words of Blessed Ser, but interpret them more as guidelines for behaviour rather that strictures. Any interpretation of the Book is made by the Triumvirate of Elders; the First, the Second and the Third of the Devoted.
   The Devoted recognise that the Commonality brings many benefits; including access to technology beyond local means to produce. This of course, includes weapons; the Book tells of Blessed Ser destroying the enemies that would impede his people’s journey out of The Great Darkness. The failure of early attempts to buy weapons from the Commonality taught the Devoted the art of being subtle and acting discreetly via third parties.
   The Devoted view the True Faith as rivals; who will be put in their place at the right time.

Campaign Set-Up
   This is intended to be a sandbox format; I’m going to set up a few situations and then let the PC’s loose. Further adventures will be generated from the in-Game events and the PC’s actions.

   PC’s will be drawn from SCI Force or the Communications Instrumentality and will be based at the Argonald Church on Argonne. Joint SCI Force / CI Teams are called Operations Teams.

Seeds
1.   An Operations Team is despatched to make contact with a pirate lord on one of the outer systems to sound out about recruiting them to act as raiders.
2.   An Operations Team is sent as missionaries to a planet where the Faithful are strong. They are to establish a local Church and begin recruiting.
3.   The team in (2) has gone missing. A SCI Force team is to be sent in to investigate.
4.   An important person wants a rare pet for his personal zoo before he will negotiate with CI.
5.   An Operations team is on a planet when an epidemic breaks out. Can they effect a cure?
6.   Something has gone badly wrong and the planet erupts in violent riots targeting off-world interests. The Operations Team is caught in the middle.
7.   There is going to be an assassination attempt. Who is the target and why are they the target?
8.   A fleet of Nexus transport ships has been sighted in the outer reaches of a system – what were they doing?
9.   Trouble is brewing on Khefir; the amphibious Khefin are attacking Bolgan installations.
10.   Sectarian warfare has broken out again on a planet. The Devoted are using advanced weapons. Where are they getting them from?
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Commonality_intendant
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2014, 09:12:48 am »

Sounds like a great sandbox, Brass Jester. I love the rippling tensions and potential conflicts everywhere - it sounds like the Protectorates themselves present quite a sizable challenge for the Commonality to integrate effectively, so on the one side lots of big, bold, and often violent activity, and on the other a need for subtlety and some caution. Looking forwards to hearing more!

Cheers,

Sarah
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Brass Jester
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 12:33:26 am »

Notes
As I said, it is a work in progress and so there are a lot of blank spaces to be filled in as the Game progresses.

The Bigger Threat: - The Hiveworlds. The Commonality has met the Bugs before; they are xenophobic, fiercely aggressive and hard to kill. The Commonality needs to secure the Protectorates to build an effective defence.

Bright Star – a very large O class blue-white supergiant, visible throughout the subsector. The radiation from the star affects the surrounding area, severely disrupting and distorting 2-space in the matrix (65, 35) to (55, 45)

Systems
Argonne (25, 55, -10)
   On Argonne, a branch of the Temple of the Universal Mind; locally called the Church of the True Faith, was established to act as a base and training camp. A Mindjammer route was established back into Commonality space via Neu Regari.
The Argonald Temple, beneath the cover of the Church, acts as a centre of operations for the Communications Instrumentality and SCI Force.

Fatri Hiveworld (15, 15, -30)
Barren and bleak, dotted with the mound-like Hives. The Bugs are utterly voracious and destroy anything in a matter of minutes.

Kerrion (25, 45, 10)
   The homeworld of the Seranians and now the site of bitter rivalry and fighting.
   A centre for learning and development.
   The Inner Sanctum of Ser, located within the University grounds
   The main University repository survives due to its android servitor guards.
   The University AI is becoming more and more paranoid. It is having to defend itself but this was never part of its original programming. It is beginning to see everyone and everything as a threat to its own survival.

Khefir (35, 75, 0)
   The Khefin are a race native to Khefir II. Bolgan Pharmaceuticals are experiencing problems with the Khefin and they don’t understand why.

Matar (25, 25, -20)
A human colony world; has recently come under attack from the Hive. This is a trap; the Matar are allied with the Bugs and are acting as spies in Commonality space.
Some are acting willingly; others are under Bug implant control.
Domed cities linked by transit tunnels. The Matar have a fear of the “Outside”, even though the atmosphere is breathable

Neu Regari (5, 85, -10)
   Barren world with a thin atmosphere. Inhabitants live in domed cities.
   Heavy industry, controlled by the Nexus Consortium

Pavonis (25, 95, -10)
   Hot, humid forests.
   Race: VARGR: Canine xenomorphs. Have a pack mentality based around the Alpha. Adapted to climbing.
   Entire ecologies have evolved in the upper layers of the forest canopies; ground level is full of predators.
   Haunting sounds fill the air as the wind blows through hollows in the trees

Seranis (5, 35, -20)
   The Faithful cling to the doctrines of the Book of Commands as laid down by Blessed Ser. The Book lays out the whole routine of daily life of one of the Faithful; only by following these to the letter will survival be ensured, as it was during the Journey in The Great Darkness. No deviation is permitted unless sanctioned by the head of the Church, The Most Faithful; only three such deviations have been made in recorded history.
   The Faithful will have nothing to do with the false prophets of the False Faith and will denounce them openly. This can be dangerous on many worlds, especially the more primitive cultures where sorcery is feared.
   In regards to open trade with the Commonality; such trade is permitted if the Book of Commands allows it.

Seranon (25, 35, -10)
   The Devoted recognise that only through change and compromise did Blessed Ser lead his people through the Great Darkness. They too hold the Book of Commands as being the words of Blessed Ser, but interpret them more as guidelines for behaviour rather that strictures. Any interpretation of the Book is made by the Triumvirate of Elders; the First, the Second and the Third of the Devoted.
   The Devoted recognise that the Commonality brings many benefits; including access to technology beyond local means to produce. This of course, includes weapons; the Book tells of Blessed Ser destroying the enemies that would impede his people’s journey out of The Great Darkness. The failure of early attempts to buy weapons from the Commonality taught the Devoted the art of being subtle and acting discreetly via third parties.
   The Devoted view the True Faith as rivals; who will be put in their place at the right time.

Xenan Hiveworld (25, 5, -40)
Site of a major campaign during the Fourth Zone War of 189 NCE, the 41st and 54th Regiments AFI were sent in to secure the planet from the Bugs. The campaign was a complete failure and when the Fourth War ended the Regiments were listed as MIA.
   Xenan is covered with ruined cities, indicating that there was a civilisation here at some time. It is not known if the civilisation was wiped out by the Bugs or something else.

GM:
I haven’t tried to post the map as it won’t come out very well. The co-ordinates are there if you want to draw it.

So, a few more ideas have come out of the generation of the subsector.

1. The Commonality is trying to stop a sectarian conflict. The potential problem is; having eschewed religion for so long; they may not understand the depth and passion that followers feel for their particular sect.

   I have decided who Blessed Ser was and have a set of Game notes on him. I’m not going to reveal it here; but there are (and will be) clues

2. The Hiveworlds. This was a curveball that the Story Cubes threw at me. However, I always liked the Bugs out of “Starship Troopers” and the film Bugs are brilliant.

Chargen next – I’m going to create Achnernar

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Commonality_intendant
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 01:38:14 pm »

Hi Brass Jester,

I'm loving this - the hints of history here and there (The Fourth Zone War?) really have my curiosity piqued. I want to know more!

Nice to see the vargr in there - very xenomorph, very likely. Also, you can't go wrong with a planet full o' bugs. Smiley

The Protectorates are really fleshing out into an interesting and adventure-filled space. Any thoughts which sector they're in?

Hope chargen goes well - keep us posted! Smiley

Cheers,

Sarah

ps: good to see Ben at Expo - hope to see you at the next one!
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Brass Jester
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2014, 09:08:11 pm »

Part 3 – Game Issues and some changes

Sarah – thanks for the comments, I’m glad you’re enjoying the write-up. Ben said he’d had a chat with you; I got the signed copy of the rules for Father’s Day. Thanks very much.

The Protectorates are about 500 LY GSE out from the Core, beyond the Aquila Rift.

The Commonality found the entire region out towards the Bat (“Bug”) Nebula to be infested with Bug hives. The Zone Wars were fought to contain the spread of the Bugs and to establish outposts on likely targets (the Bugs do not have planing ability and propagate via slower than light Colony Hives). The Fourth Zone War was fought on the edge of the Aquila Rift; the attack on Xenan was hastily planned and executed as the planet was thought to be a newly seeded Hive. The mistake proved to be costly.

There have been a few changes to the system notes, the entry for Kerrion now reads:

Seranis / Seranon (25, 45, 10)
   The homeworld of the Seranians and now the site of bitter sectarian rivalry and fighting. The Faithful call the world Seranis, the Devoted call the world Seranon. Both sides want sole possession of the Inner Sanctum of Ser, located within the University grounds. The University sees itself as neutral territory.
   The main University repository survives due to its android servitor guards, but the University AI is becoming more and more paranoid. It has to defend itself but this was never part of its original programming. It is beginning to see everyone and everything as a threat to its own survival.

Plus there is an additional system: -

Pallantide (05, 35, 10)
   A young world with fossils and other evidence indicating that it should be far older than it is.
   A huge meteorite crater indicates a world-killing event
   The meteorite strike was not accidental
   Very, very old ruins

I decided to condense Seranis / Seranon into one world torn by sectarian violence; as the original system was settled by colony slowship and a lot of technology was lost en-route; I couldn’t envisage them developing 2-space travel without the influence of an outside source (a concept I’m keeping for another time).

Vargr – my all-time favourite Traveller alien race; I played a Vargr called Grrwoulf (“Growly”) in The Traveller Adventure back in the ‘80’s. Actually, I think I’ll put him in as an NPC somewhere.

Game Issues: -
Current Issue – obviously is the situation on Seranis Seranon, the whole reason the Protectorates were established.
Stabilisation: - The Commonality wants to stabilise the situation on Seranis Seranon by introducing a common religion – The True Faith.

Short-Term Impending Issue
Expansion: - Corporate elements in the Commonality want to expand into the subsector to open up new markets

Long-Term Impending Issue
Threat – The Bug Hiveworlds of Fatri and Xenan, plus collaborators on Matar.

Aspects
Stabilisation – “Stubborn adherence to the teachings of Blessed Ser”
   The Seranians live their lives by the Book of Commands. Could this be leverage against them? What actually is it?

Expansion – “Why can’t this situation be resolved quickly?”
   PC’s under pressure from superiors to get the job done within tight time constraints. Corporate elements that won’t wait for the official go-ahead. Invoke to get extra resources or back-up.

(Threat – “Bugs in this area of space”
   Possible invasion from a Bug Colony Hive. Infiltrator from Matar wearing human guise. Invoke to get things done in a hurry.) – I’m not going to add this as a Game Aspect yet until the Bugs are encountered, at the moment it’s a distant threat to be developed.

Places and Faces
The Argonald Temple on Argonne, beneath the cover of the Church of the True Faith, acts as a centre of operations for the Communications Instrumentality and SCI Force. This is where the characters will be based.

Elaine Ryder – SCI Force Commander and the character’s boss. Based at Argonald Temple.

Commonality Cultural Office – based at the University on Seranis Seranon. Recontact was made in 180 NCE, the Office has been in place for 8 years (since 185 NCE). The Office maintains a LMI as the Seranis do not have the technology to detect m-band transmissions.

The Most Faithful of Blessed Ser, head of the Faithful of Blessed Ser

The Triumvirate of Elders; the First, the Second and the Third of the Devoted of Blessed Ser

OK, now I’ve got some more background, next I’m going to create two characters (promise!)
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Brass Jester
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2014, 12:12:23 am »

The Zone Wars 130 – 189 NCE

   In 100 NCE an exploration mission from Core entered the Chamda system, following the Event Horizon probe “Star-Driven Futures”. The probe had reported interesting crystalline formations on the second and third planets; the wealthy Lantry Family followed up on this and financed the expedition, led by Dominus Lantry.

   On Chamda II they found a series of unusual crystalline formations; globular structures made up of millions of tiny faceted particles. These refracted and reflected light in shimmering rainbow colours. The expedition did basic tests and determined them to be simple crystalline formations. Dominus Lantry saw his chance to make his fortune and secured exclusive rights to the Lantyrns. They were exported to several systems; sold as luxury goods.

   Subsequent events are a matter of speculation. In 130 NCE, across Known Space, several (but not all) Lantyrns suddenly and soundlessly exploded, filling the air with millions of crystal shards. Whatever the shards struck they clung to and began to dissolve with a bio-acid. The shards grew into larvae, which first turned on each other, but then the survivors grew and evolved into the Bugs.

   A full-grown Bug is an eight-foot tall tripedal monstrosity, with bifurcate serrated jaws. Its sole purpose is to destroy. Its bite can pierce heavy armour plating and it can absorb a lot of damage before going down.

   The first Zone War of 130 – 132 NCE was a desperate battle by the Commonality to contain the Bugs on the planets they had appeared on. It was during the War that Dominus Lantry disappeared, along with his ship.

   Lantry had split with his family over the Lantyrns; the commonly-held belief is that sufficient tests were not conducted on the Lantyrns and that Dominus had overruled his scientific advisors in the name of profit.

   The second Zone War broke out in 140 NCE when a smuggled batch of Lantyrns surfaced on Alphanor in the Core Worlds. The Bugs had somehow evolved and used different tactics; they now had Bugs capable of spraying molecular acid and firing plasma bursts. The decision was taken to abandon the planet, when it was found that dormant shards were being carried off the planet stuck onto ships hulls or carried on evacuees the evacuation was halted and the planet was sterilised using an induced solar flare. The planet is under observation to detect any possible Bug revival.

   A NC directive made ownership of a Lantyrn a capital offence.

   The Third Zone War started in 175 NCE when the Outreach Project began pushing into the regions around the Bat Nebula. Many systems were infested with Bugs; a massive mobilisation of the AFI was made to neutralise the threat. In addition, preliminary attempts were made to study the Bugs. The y had developed spaceflight using gigantic slower than light colony hives and so the orbital transfer ships were now at risk. Surface expeditions had to use heavily armoured vehicles or robots; even so these had a limited lifespan. The Third Zone War ended in 186 NCE when the Bugs simply stopped fighting. Expeditions to planets that were Bug strongholds found no trace of them.

   The Fourth Zone War was a pre-emptive strike on several potential Bug worlds. The main campaign was fought on the edge of the Aquila Rift. An independent explorers report had indicated there were Lantyrns on several worlds in the Rift. Some late intelligence showed the presence of Lantyrns on Xenan in the Argonne Protectorates, as Xenan was a prime candidate for a Depot to open up the rest of the sector the 41st and 54th Regiments AFI were sent in to secure the planet from the Bugs. It was thought that the planet had been newly seeded; this proved to be a costly mistake as the Bugs were found to have an extensive network of underground tunnels. The campaign was a complete failure and when the Fourth War ended in 189 NCE the Regiments were listed as MIA. The source of the faulty intelligence was never identified.

   Xenan is covered with ruined cities, indicating that there was a civilisation here at some time. It is not known if the civilisation was wiped out by the Bugs or something else.

   There are disturbing reports that some collectors in the Core are offering outrageous sums of money or rewards (ownership of a small world or plateworld) in return for a genuine Lantyrn
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